Communication in a multicultural society like the one that characterizes the United States represents a real challenge in several ways, and leads to prejudices. For example, in the city of Los Angeles, you find more than 90 different cultures. Some blocks of communities (Hispanics, and Asians, for example) shared many cultural, linguistic, religious, and sociological similarities, but at the same time these communities differ dramatically from others, Anglo-Saxon or Germanic communities, to cite an example.
In general terms, Western European communities are characterized by close physical contact; be it by firm embraces, kisses, eye contact, or less rigid approach. In France, for example, men and women interact in a much more physical manner than White men and women in the US. In France, it is part of the social etiquette for a man to kiss a woman, even if they are not close, as part of the greeting ritual. In the United States, kissing is regarded as intimate, and is usually a privilege reserved for close friends, not acquaintances. Also, in France, a hug/embrace between a man and a woman in part of the greeting ritual, and is not regarded as highly intrusive of offensive. On the other hand, in the United States, close physical contact is a lot puritanical. To many women (and men), a hug/embrace is a very risky business. One must follow a full set of rules to make sure an accusation of sexual harassment is not invoked. Eye contact in France is
not regarded a violation of space. Gving a woman a smile and/or eye contact in France is a normal friendly gesture. In the United States, if a man looks at a woman in the eyes, to the woman, that man is invading her space, that man wants something. A smile would probably make that woman run and call police.
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